Celebrating its ninth year in business – my how time flies – this George’s Street restaurant was quite the novelty when it opened, with its plate-lined walls and never-ending dining room serving whole rotisserie chickens and suckling pigs to feed 10 people. At Sixty6 they obviously believe if it ain’t broke and all that … so ever since they’ve been plating up hearty fare such as mixed seafood grills, burgers, steaks, salads and roasting just about any animal they can get their hands on. They do good Hereford fillet steaks (¤32.90 with potatoes, spinach, mushrooms and peppercorn sauce) and huge, fluffy building block chips. Keep an eye out for their deals, which frequently mean you can eat for half price. A good spot for groups.
52 Dawson Street, Dublin, Dublin 2 01-6333 957, carluccios.com/ restaurants/dublin ¤ One of an international chain of Italian restaurants owned by Italian-born, UK-based Antonio Carluccio this bright blue corner spot is loud and bustling from the get go, with breakfast starting at 7.30am on weekdays and 9am on Sundays. Try the large, sweet slices of toasted panettone, the irresistible Italian fruit bread (¤3.95), or you can join lunchtime rush clambering for take aways from the grocery and deli at the front - we recommend the caponata, a dense, oily Sicilian aubergine salad. For dinner, the indecisive will love the trio di pasta - where you can share three of the pasta 12 dishes on the menu for ¤27.95. The Giadriniera with courgette, chilli and fried spinach balls is good, and all pasta dishes are available gluten free.
EDEN BAR & GRILL
7 South William Street, Dublin 2, Ireland, tel: (01) 6706887, edenbarandgrill.ie ¤ A good brunch spot, Eden Bar & Grill (the offshoot of the original Eden on Meeting House Square) has all the brunch bases covered: a good window seat for people watching on South William Street, comfy banquettes for those who are incapable of sitting upright, and a very bright, high-ceilinged atrium out the back for the perky post-pilates and yummy
MONSTER MEALS As this is the scariest day of the year (apart from Budget day) we’ve rounded up some places to scare yourself silly, followed by some comfort food options.
One of the spookiest spots in Ireland, the old (wicklowshistoricgaol.com) revels in its spooky past. It has a Terrifying Halloween Tour tonight, from 7pm to 8.30pm, where you will learn the history of the gaol since the 1700s – in the dark. Board a transportation ship, meet “prisoners of the past” and enter solitary confinement. Tickets are ¤15 and include a glass of wine . . . you’ll need it to settle the nerves. After your tour, the Jailer’s Rest café and wine bar in the gaol is
mummy brigade. On the plate, things are more consistent. Dishes all hover around the tenner mark and include salt-baked beetroot with goats cheese, poached eggs and wild mushrooms and wild asparagus omelette with almonds and Cashel Blue.
18 Merrion Row, Dublin 2, 01 678 8872 email@example.com ¤¤ Barely a year old, Etto has already earned enough accolades to snap at Michael Phelps’ heels – most recently a Michelin Bib Gourmand. When they opened up last year, the trio of friends behind this little eatery lured us in with their pork belly and smoked eel croquettes and prosecco on tap. They’ve been wowing diners ever since with an every changing Italian-inspired menu of small (from ¤10) and large plates (from about ¤19), ranging from the sweetest chargrilled baby leeks to nduja – this year’s chorizo – served with mussels and samphire. Larger dishes include featherblade steak, and pumpkin and ricotta ravioli. They’re big fans of polenta and now open on Friday and Saturday evenings with bistro staples, such as Louisiana hot wings, burgers and steak sandwiches.
In Dublin, you can head along to Glasnevin cemetery (glasnevintrust.ie), where more than 1.5 million Dubliners have been buried and the ghost of a faithful pet dog is said to live. You can take a tour or visit the museum, then pop outside the gate and head to John Kavanagh’s where you can have one of the best pints of Guinness in Dublin, and try their seasonal colcannon and pulled ham croquettes (¤5).
In Cork, head for Kinsale, where the star-shaped Charles Fort that overlooks the harbour is home to the White Lady, a grieving bride who, legend has it, can still be found roaming the fort in her wedding dress. When you’ve had your fill of ghouls and ghosts, stroll down the hill to the bar (thebul-
lardo, and that’s just fine by us. The lengthy wine list offers a chance to break away from the usuals, including a rich ruby Austrian Blaufränkisch. 8 Sussex Terrace, Dublin 4 01-667 8337, forestavenuerestaurant.ie ¤¤¤ John and Sandy Wyer surprised everyone when they opened Forest Avenue last year. The husband-and-wife team took the brave move of setting up a fine-dining restaurant in an old takeaway pizza joint, decking it out in sparse Scandinavian furniture, only offering tasting menus … it was loaded with risk, but it has more than paid off. The food here is truly excellent, with the kitchen producing 2-, 3- and 5-course menus (¤27, ¤33 and ¤48) that remind us of the wondrous things that can be done with Irish produce. John and his team make ingredients such as barley, venison, pumpkin, salsify, homemade ricotta and tiny, pinched agnolotti pasta sing. They also do weekend brunch here, which is a standout in a city laden down with eggs
man.ie) for a hot whiskey. Once you’re warmed up, head upstairs to Toddie’s restaurant, where you can try half a dozen Bloody Mary oysters (¤15.50) or some Oysterhaven mussels, served in a bacon and cabbage broth (¤10.50).
If you’re feeling really brave, head to in Oldcastle, Co Meath, (ross-castle.com) where you can spend the night in one of Ireland’s most haunted buildings. This 600-year-old castle and tower was the home of Richard Nugent, “the Black Baron” whose heartbroken daughter Sabrina is said to haunt the castle as payback for his cruel deeds. Rooms begin at ¤120 (or from ¤60 per night if you book all five rooms in the castle). Dinner is served in old Great Hall, where a three-course Irish menu of soup, roast pork or lamb chops, and bread and butter pudding costs ¤30 per person. Benedict. Again, it’s a perfectly timed and proportioned tasting menu, with coffee and something sweet, homemade granola, usually an egg course then a meat course and finishing off with another sweet treat. At ¤24 it’s more than you might usually spend on brunch, but it’s an event worth the splurge. Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8, 01-529 8732, thefumbally.ie ¤ Making kale sexy is a tall order – Californian redwood kind of tall. But the folks at The Fumbally have managed just that, and with the least appetising part of kale too, the tough spines. The Fumbally’s kale ribs – they call them “poor man’s asparagus” but there’s nothing poor about them – are delicious and just one of a whole selection of tasty breakfast and lunches at this cavernous, industrial-chic café. Their eggs and ham dish is also a winner: creamy scrambled eggs with Gubbeen cheese, garlic and tomatoes and hot smoked Gubbeen ham ¤6.50 and they do mighty things with avocados too. The salads
– Rachel Collins change all the time, but usually have a superfood or two hidden in there. Expect to queue for service at the weekends, and to wrestle to get a seat. But it’s worth the wait.
Just remember, the back wall might be filled with tasty looking veggies, but do not fill a basket with them and queue all the way to the counter to buy them. They are not for sale – some of us might have learned that the embarrassing way…
IFI CAFÉ BAR
6 Eustace Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2. 01 679 5744 ¤ A good spot to feed your body before feeding your mind at the Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar.
Serving lunch and dinner daily from 12.30 (and brunch on Sundays from 12-4) the IFI café offers a good range of sandwiches, burgers, salads and stews – most coming in under a tenner. It also has loads of desserts, a small wine list and a growing number of craft beers. They also run events to coincide with the films being shown on the three screens, so on Wednesday October 29th, you can watch Return To Glennascaul, produced by Micheál MacLiammóir , and follow it up with a meal in the café afterwards. Or the Horrorthon menu, running till Monday, has zombie cocktails, and food specials for people coming to the Halloween-themed horror flicks.
28-29 Nassau Street, Dublin 2, 01 633 6872, kcpeaches.com ¤ What’s that? You’d like a plate of lasagne with some curried beef, tabbouleh salad, roast potatoes, creamed spinach and rice? And you’d like to follow it with a cookie the size of your head? Well you’ve come to the right place. KC Peaches’ buffet-style cafes do decent food, fast.
You pay according to your plate (or take-away box) size, and you’re free to load it with anything from the dozen or so hot dishes, plus a varied, healthy salad bar. With small hot plates starting at ¤4.80 your lunchtime entertainment is provided by Trinity students from across the road who enter into a Jenga-style plate filling competitions (and the bewildered tourists watching them). You can also get tasty made-to-order sandwiches and salads and excellent baked goods. There are four KC Peaches outlets in Dublin now, but the Nassau Street branch remains the best for lunch.
15 Capel Street, Dublin 1 01-532 80 68, musashidublin.com Unit 2, Burton Hall, Custom house Square, Mayor St Dublin 1 01-55573 73, ¤ Dublin’s best sushi restaurant broke our hearts when it opened in far too small a room on Capel Street a few years ago. No bookings, scant space, you have to elbow your way in to try their delicious Ebi Tempura Masago rolls, slivers of spicy tuna or sashimi selection named after Japanese flowers. Thankfully its newer, larger sister restaurant in the IFSC makes it easier to access this taste of Japan. And the quality of their delivery menu is excellent, recreating the restaurant experience, even if you don’t have the cute Japanese furniture at home.
13/14 Cathedral St, Dublin 1, (01) 874 8038, mlchineserestaurant.com ¤ Claiming the spot as Dublin’s “most authentic Szechuan restaurant”, M&L has garnered a cult following thanks to its seemingly endless list of tasty, MSG-free dishes. Fans speak in hushed tones of the “Chinese-language menu” that (most likely doesn’t) have extra specialties on it. No matter, the English-language one offers delights such as braised seabass in hot and spicy sauce and steamed razor clams with rice noodles. The spicy beef is about 50 per cent chilli – only for the brave of constitution.
17 Camden St Lower, Dublin 2, 01-405 2222, neon17.ie ¤ It’s a real bone of contention – the optimum technique with which to pull the biggest ice cream cone. Hours of rowdy research has gone into it (and an old Saturday job pulling